Some of this also relates to organize and optimize your social life, but more broadly to organizing your time. For instance, scheduling important tasks and things you want or need to do as though they were social commitments is a good example of how you can organize your time.
But there's so much more to it than that.
Let's take a look at some of the things you can do to organize your time a little more easily.
Recognize Your Limits
The first and absolute most important point to consider when organizing your time, is that you must consider your own limitations. This is where a lot of us go wrong because we forget that our energy is finite as well as our time.
A perfect example of getting this wrong is if you write yourself a new training program and diet. Often we come up with plans to lose weight that essentially involve working out for an additional 3 hours on top of our regular training routines while also dieting.
So you now have less energy and you're expected to start exerting yourself for a total of three hours, as well as travelling to and from the gym?
This just doesn't work.
If you find that you currently aren't doing all the things you would like to be doing, then once again you need to prioritize. Find that you're not as healthy as you'd like to be? Then maybe it's time to stop going to the pub with your friends once a week. Never able to get on top of house work? Then maybe you need to quit that karate class!
Walk or Sit, Don't Wobble!
Likewise, you need to make sure that you always give yourself time to recover. We are actually much more productive overall when we have been given some time to recover and to recharge our batteries. If you are just constantly doing one thing after another, then eventually you'll become tired and you'll stop working properly.
The heading of this section is actually an old saying that is particularly relevant to this particular discussion. 'Walk or Sit, Don't Wobble' basically means that you need to divide your time between resting and working. This prevents you from getting into those situations where you are 'half working'.
Half working is the worst thing, because it means that you aren't getting much done but you aren't really relaxing either.
Just as bad is 'half relaxing'. Half relaxing is what you do when you're too tired to do anything useful but you feel like you can't justify putting on a film, reading a book or taking a bath. So instead you just sit there, watching rubbish TV. At the end of the day, you've achieved nothing but you've also failed to enjoy the time off.
This is why you need to allow yourself that recovery time and then make full use of it. Better yet, schedule it in and that way, you'll be able to look forward to it while you're working.
Timing Your Tasks
As you decide when to schedule those important tasks and when to schedule rest, it's useful to consider the natural ebbs and flows of your energy.
All of us have times of day where we are more productive and times of day where we crash. Most of us for instance will find we crash when getting in from work and that we're less productive at work after 4pm. Likewise, it takes us a little while to get around to being productive.
Also important to take into account is the way our other activities impact on our energy levels. One of the easiest ways to make yourself exhausted and want to crash for instance is to eat dinner! Once you've eaten, your body needs to digest and that leaves you with little energy to do anything else.
So instead of making dinner, eating on the sofa and then planning on tidying, the tidying should always come before the eating.
Don't sit on the couch if you want to keep your energy levels up and don't eat until you've completed at least your most important task. You can always enjoy a light snack when you get in if you're too hungry to do anything!
In the chapter on work, we're going to talk about how multitasking can be a bad thing. However, in the right circumstances multitasking can be highly useful.
Multitasking at work doesn't usually work but in your private life it can be useful in any situation where one of the tasks doesn't require your full attention.
For instance then, if you need to go shopping then you can call a friend on your hands-free kit while you're shopping. This way, you're able to catch up with your correspondence while at the same time getting in the food - two birds killed with one stone!
Likewise, you can sort out bills while washing up, or you can research activities on a tablet while cooking.
This can help you to literally accomplish twice as much in a lot of circumstances so start looking for opportunities to tick off more than one of your tasks at once!
Close Open Loops
One very important tip to helping you feel more on top of life is to close all those smaller and fiddly tasks that you consider 'open loops'.
In the next chapter, we'll see that it makes sense to work on the biggest and hardest task first so that you can ensure maximum productivity. At home though, you should aim to do the reverse.
Tasks are generally less pressing at home, so it makes sense to tick off the smaller things you have to do so that you have less stress and fewer things weighing on your mind.
This means things like paying that bill, things like calling that friend, things like RSVPing to that event. We put off these jobs because we find them stressful and don't want to use up energy thinking about them. As a result though, we actually just end up worrying about them unconsciously and having less time and energy available to do anything else.
If you have something you can complete quickly that's playing on your mind then just tell yourself: it needs to be done eventually, so it's better to get it out of the way.
Every day when you come home from work, give yourself half an hour to close off those 'open loops' so you have a small unconscious 'to-do' list.